Presidents Background Notes
I would like to introduce myself to you as your newly elected President.
I regard it a great honour to be your President, it is a role that I take very seriously.
I would like to record my thanks to Derek Marshall for providing me with this opportunity to tell you a little about my table tennis background. I would also like to thank Derek for setting up TT 365 and would encourage all players to consider if they have stories/experiences to tell other league players about. The new website will be as good as the information provided, please provide some.
I started playing table tennis at the age of 13 in Division 4 of the Barnsleyleague in the 1968/69 Season. My first ever memory is of being aged 10 and walking on a hot day with my twin brother John and older brother Alan, five miles both ways from our home in Barnsley to the Club where my elder brother Alan played league table tennis (he was aged 16 at the time) and England Junior number one. I only found out in recent years that Alan used to practice at thatsame venue with John Clarke (the over 70's National Veteran Champion and long standing Sussex County and Brighton league player), who lived in Lancashire at the time - a small world! Alan went on to travel around the World extensively and represented England many times as both a Junior and Senior,and competed in both World and European Championships.
In September 1968 I commenced my table tennis journey in Division 4 at the same venue previously visited three years earlier. That venue was a two table venue above a pub called Lundwood Hotel and the Club was Barnsley North End (BNE). I finished the Season with a 90% average and won my first competition at the League's Annual Closed Tournament for players in Division 4, 5 and 6. The following Season I moved up to the first Division where I played in total four Seasons before moving to Sussex in 1973, and had a playing average of about 90% each Season. During those four Seasons I became an established Junior and Senior player for the town. In subsequent years at the league's Annual Tournament, I won the Junior Singles title twice and the MensDoubles three times. I also won the Junior Singles in the Doncaster Closed.
I was ranked number 6 as a Junior in Yorkshire. At that time (early 70's) Ormesby were very strong and winning European Club Titles. The five juniors above me were all from Ormesby and they were also the England top fivejuniors, a question of being in the wrong place at the wrong time!
I am very proud that during the first part of my career in Barnsley, I progressed from being a novice aged 13 to regularly beating the League's top players in only two Seasons. Practicing four or five times a week paid off.
Since moving to Sussex in 1973 to the present time, in addition to the WorthingLeague, I have played in the South West Sussex, Portsmouth, Brighton and Crawley leagues. I have won the Worthing Closed Mens Singles title four times, the Mens Doubles a few times, the Mixed Doubles once; and theWorthing League's and South West Sussex League's first Division titlesnumerous times. I have also won the South West Sussex Closed Mens Singles title. I have also represented Sussex as a Veteran.
People often ask me who were the best players you played with? My brother Alan who was ranked number 3 Senior would by some distance have been the best. After that in no particular order, it would be Peter Pudduck (for YMCA in the Brighton League), Dash (for Woodlands in the Worthing League), and Peter Bartram and Andy Walker (for North Lancing in the Brighton League). I won the Premier Division for YMCA in the Brighton League in the early 80's with Peter, Paul Bentinck and Geoff Stevens. Twice in recent years with Peter Bartram and Andy Walker I again won the Brighton League's Premier Division.
The best players I have played against in no particular order would be
Denis Neale, Chester Barnes, Nicky Jarvis, Trevor Taylor and Alan Hydes (who were all top Seniors in the early 1970's). I have also been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to watch a few International Matches and have seen some of the best players in the world play. If you get the opportunity to watch International Senior Players, do it, its breathtaking and reinforces the need to improve!
The venues I have played in have been many and very varied and have included:- the back room of pubs, village halls, cricket pavilions, school halls, leisure centres, Polytechnics, Universities, factories, works offices withcarpeting on the floor; and for four Seasons in Barnsley my home venue was anold two storey haunted warehouse but that's another tale!
I would like to conclude by thanking Sue West (Honorary Secretary) and the Executive Committee for all their hard work in making the League work.
I know from personal experience that it involves more than you might think. Thanks also to you for playing in the League, the League needs your participation to survive. I hope you enjoy your table tennis journey as much as I have, have a great Season.